Taipei, April 23 (CNA) The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) is moving towards reducing the quarantine period for people with COVID-19 and their close contacts from 10 days to seven after a meeting between Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shihchung (陳 時 中) and important local government leaders on Saturday.
Chen, who is also head of the CECC, said at a press briefing Saturday afternoon that the proposed cut had garnered support from municipal leaders in Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan, Kaohsiung and Hualien County during a virtual meeting with the health minister earlier in the day. .
The six administrative areas have been listed as high-risk COVID-19 areas since mid-April.
Daily new domestic cases across Taiwan have risen from 104 on April 1 to 4,126 on Saturday, the highest number of single days since the pandemic began.
The CECC will hold another meeting on Monday to discuss cuts in the number of days and other potential changes to quarantine-related measures before being presented to an expert panel convened by the center to implement the new quarantine policy, Chen said.
Taiwan first shortened the quarantine period for arrivals from abroad, infected individuals and those listed as their contacts, from 14 days to 10 on March 7, and has since allowed home isolation for some patients showing mild or no symptoms.
It has also simplified measures, such as test requirements, amid the rapid increase in domestic cases.
The proposal to shorten the number of days in isolation has been made in response to the Omicron variant of the virus, which was associated with most domestic cases this year, and the large proportion of mild and asymptomatic infections of the variant, Chen said.
Of the 22,256 domestic cases registered in Taiwan between January 1 and April 22, 99.62 percent were mild or asymptomatic infections, and 24 of the 85 people who developed moderate or severe infections no longer needed to be quarantined. according to the CECC. Four patients among this year’s seven serious cases died, CECC data showed.
In addition to further shortening the quarantine period, the six local government heads also agreed to simplify contact tracking conducted by local health authorities to minimize the impact of the current increase in cases on the economy and people’s daily lives, Chen said.
Once the details are completed, contact tracing will only focus on cohabitants in a confirmed case, as well as the infected person’s classmates and people working in the same room, according to Chen.
The time period for being examined in contact tracking will be cut from four days before a person is confirmed to be infected or starting to have symptoms, to two days, he added.
Chen also urged infected individuals to help with the government’s contact tracing work by notifying their friends and family, school and workplace once their infection has been confirmed.
Taiwan already suspended contact tracing in imported cases, unless associated with locally transmitted infections, when the government announced the adoption of a new strategy aimed at preventing serious COVID-19 cases of targeted use of medical resources on 7. April.
The CECC later extended the requirement to show evidence of three COVID-19 vaccine shots to people working in a variety of locations, such as schools, cinemas and conference and banquet venues, and for visits to gyms and participation in religious events, from Friday.
To date, Taiwan has confirmed 51,298 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of 2020, including 40,977 domestically transmitted infections, while 856 deaths from the disease have been recorded.
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